Speeding on bipolar disorder’s mania

I am now.  I just realized it tonight.  It’s been rising for about three days, I can retrospectively tell, by my difficulty falling asleep and my waking up earlier and earlier.  I am hypomanic now.  I should have noticed by my skipping concentration as I’ve been reading, but it’s hard to notice things like that when you have no clue you’re supposed to be looking for them.  Gradually, I am learning things like sleep, which are cues I need to keep an eye on.

When I’m hypomanic I write things like this.  Which are perfectly sensible, which consist of good commentary, but which are overcharged.  It’s fine to say things like that to some company I’m never going to work for (and, yes, I did send them the link), but I would say things like that to my current employer, in email, when I worked.  When I’m manic it just seems like a good idea!  But it’s the sort of thing that can get you fired, and is part of why I’m unemployable.

This—how I am now—is just high enough to write.  To kindle this state and let it ride for a few months, balancing it with silences in the evening so it doesn’t get out of control, is what I did with ::HARD, and it might be what I’m about to do with this next project, if I write it.  I have a song that goes through my head.  I think I can time my mania to it: the faster I hum it to myself, the speedier I am.  I am humming it pretty fast now.

Words get me charged up—twitter, reading, writing, phone conversations.  The less there’s a visual component, the speedier I get: so an exciting phone conversation is the worst.  When I talk with my sister (a person who is intelligent, full of ideas) it can overcharge me.  We have to limit phone time, sometimes.

So I’m sitting outside.  Yes, I am writing.  Maybe it’s not the best idea.  But I have to remark on this, somehow, as my experience, and this is the best way to do it.  I ate some food, to ground myself in my body, and in a minute I’m going to take my nighttime medicine, skipping the antidepressant (per doctor’s instruction, during times of mania) and taking the prescribed repeat on the sleeping med, to hopefully get me to sleep.  I’m not in an unpleasant state, not quite, but I know where this can go, and where it goes is to a psych hospital, and I don’t want to go to one of those right now.

I just re-read this post, and found it difficult to stay on track.  But I’m glad I did re-read it because I had already forgotten that I was about to take my medication.  See, it’s tricky to remember things at times like these.

Notes on ::HARD

notes for the book

– ..and smoothes her hair..should it be his? :: Or change it earlier..probably the former

– Chad and him went to school together..but chads family .. For the funeral..did they come from far away..maybe change this last

– ..any place, any time, any way..Add another any in there..?

– reconsider putting Jules’ necklace under the round table in the clean-out catalogue

– he takes the computer from home into the car..then later all he takes from the car is his iPod .. work this out – just make it an iPad, throughout

Make sure that’s the version of the Nietzsche quote you want to use

when he says he and Ash have been split for a long time..is that a little too much of a lie?  maybe he doesn’t stretch it quite that far?


have Liz, the lizard girl, say something about the bags..Mick would spot them, not want the bags to go in, Liz knows what’s in them, oks it

too much rain?


include the event of him getting beat up by black guys, as a precursor to the Third Street corner? (at the very very beginning, like 1st or second section, early-Liz era)

“Ashley and I went to different high schools” << yes, obviously, if she’s from Florida? Rephrase this?

maybe sometime later, like in the catalogue of what’s under the round table, mention Jules’ necklace again, to reprise it, since it’s such a good object

or even build up the symbols by using them, specifically, later?

or just keep it a one-half [implied] structure/analogy, as it currently is

..I think a half-point reprise later (refer to necklace, don’t need to redescribe) might balance it without being overextended

“I’ve known her since we were kids” >> qc like {She went to Stivers.}

“play that file, again” >> the non-literal, but in other ways proper, {tape} might be more appropriate here (and was in the first draft)..might change this but it’s a tough one with anachnosim versus literal



“codewords for everything. Blacklight bowling means we sit in Gao’s Eclipse and he bumps crystal meth. He heats it in these little”

..not sure I want to do this..it weakens the sentence considerably

this :: http://nerdinlove.tumblr.com/post/4447578111 :: to chingy holiday in :: Brooklyn :: make this epic :: like in the second pass, make even the secondary characters fully-drawn :: every character, they should be able to see, feel, get a handle/glipse on/of their whole life and distinct motivation :: take your time

enforce and enhance the punctuation-follows-character trends..each character has their own punctuation that is prevalent when that character, or that mood, or that effect, is in place

lowercase a bunch of these cheesehead proper nouns..to disrespect them..like python..fuck proper nouns and acronyms

where is his Mom?  was she still in Dayton?  that’s a question that pops out as I write this..address it

need to understand why, more, Jules won’t leave Dayton

..play that out more..not only won’t she go with him, but because of that, she’s holding him back.

..right..it’s that Jules goes into the vortex..and he comes out (in certain ways)..so her being stuck in Dayton is a good thing..for her theatre..for her job..even though she hates it and there’s better theatre in NYC..idk..somehow even though she saves him and causes him to leave..I want her stuck there..


Jules’s theatre underused?  I was going to play it up at that location, in my original plan..

::HARD’s query letter

I sent this to a few people the other day.  Contrary to some opinion, I don’t believe it should take longer to write a 1-page query letter than it takes to write a 300-page book.  I wrote this in one day.  Hopefully it sells the book.  -MT

Dear X,

Love isn’t easy.  And nothing comes easy for Matthew and Jules.  He’s a bored programmer.  She’s a lonely actor.  They’re both insane.  But they’re perfect for each other, and they find each other, and love each other, and ultimately lose each other in this literary fiction, complete at 110,000 words.

His demon is his friends.  Her demon is an eating disorder.  Neither can hold on to the other.  Can he help her stay in the world?  He’s found a way to live real life—she has not.  She’s found a connection to the spirit, to energy, to a truth and a truer way to be.  They meditate.  They try drugs.  They do everything they can to hold on to each other, but nothing works.

In the end, she has left her mark indelibly on him, and he has left her, and they will never be together but they will never be unchanged.  No one’s life continues on its old path.  One dies, the other finds a new way to live.  This is a story of love, of obsession, of being stuck and of moving on.

I’ve shared chapters with writer peers and am doing a limited query now.  I’m Matthew Temple, author of five books and a number of screenplays and stage plays.  I invented some types of cellular automata (a math system) and am a pioneer in the field of cultural evolutionary search (a type of artificial intelligence).  I sell my books online, but am looking for an agent to work with, to help promote my work to corporate publishers.  I have an ever-growing following on the web.  My website (clownfysh.com) and twitter account have been ways that I’ve promoted my work thus far.

Please browse the samples I have online (all of my work is available free w/ coupon this month only, through my website), and consider whether we might be able to work together to place my work with a larger audience.

Thank you,

Matthew Temple


::HARD outline

This is the outline I wrote ::HARD from.  When I had this amount of structure/idea, I decided I could start writing the text.  Every day I wrote something from here, modifying as I went.  Some things I disregarded completely..some I used verbatim, as sentences in the book.  -MT


Matthew Temple

has become someone who is trying to erase himself

him growing up as an artist in high school, cutting class, doing video projects with erica, where he touched erica’s breasts

with erica and her telling him about the next door neighbor being a murderer, they’re pretty sure that guy killed somebody

driving his old girl, the freak who becomes the square, to her college graduation, (sleeping with her in his dad’s attic?), she breaks up with him after she graduates—she maybe just needed a ride—fucking her when her cheeks get red and she just lets him do anything he wants, for as long as he wants, then they go to sushi dinner and she tells him about natural parenting techniques

old party

him liking to dress up in women’s clothing

breaking up with last girlfriend

the first time he ever smoked pot, with the new people, the freaks

having sex with crro while last girlfriend stands outside banging on the door, hysterically afraid of spiders

sex with crro and coke in her parents house, fucking her when she’s sick, wanting to take her car and leave while in the park with her that night..not caring about the law, not caring about people anymore, just wanting to get out, but not doing it

he is bored, bored of his friends, they say the same things over and over

it’s obvious what they want :: they don’t do anything new :: they’re squeamish

me and beth decide to bring back the word cunt

he meets this new one for the first time

the house of transformation, the foursome (pairs) at the east dayton house after the old party..one girlfriend throwing up in the front bathroom, the other throwing up in the back

he meets up with a new friend, z-friend, who likes ashley

the divorce events from friends on the floor of the naughty

he goes on a journey with his friend, they see themselves from outer space

see the earth, know they have sent themselves down into it

his new friends come and see him at work

they have a little picnic

he works with squares :: these people are freaks

they bring a candle to put on his desk

maybe he manages a call center, maybe keep it closer to home and make him a programmer

meeting her..he’s doing the sets for the show she’s in?

or keep it closer to home and she’s a student, he’s a fledgling writer?

or make her an actor, him a painter with a day job?

their first date, the terrible one

shakes at a diner

still having sex with the last girlfriend after having met the new one

and after introducing the old one to the z friend..that old-pair thing that woody allen does so well in everybody says I love you

and the z friend has no place to go, and stays with him, and wonders if he is gay, but he says he’s not

the z friend talking about his brother and sister who are incestuous, he’s embarrassed for his family to know anything about him, his failures, his pride :: you should always know your seventh deadly sin


when he goes to pick her up at her theatre

finding her sitting on a bench, counseling someone she just met, and loving the one who loves the world, loving the one who is saving starfish

meeting at the club

free drinks from the bartender friend

passing out glow sticks en masse

smack my bitch up

ecstasy in the trunk of the car out front

the kiss afterward

the old one coming over and the new one being there

the new one being upset that the old one just shows up

the new one loving his women’s clothing, loving his colors, her stealing his clothes to wear, him loving that, her coming over to wash clothes at his house and her feeling uncomfortable about having no money but him loving that he can help her, let her do laundry, buy her breakfast, etc.

what she loves are connected people, meditated people

she is disconnected, alone, everything is shallow to her

her little brother died of ecstasy, at a dance club, at a rave, at a party, overheated

yet she is a magician :: and he is hers

the magician for the magician

the one who brightens the eyes of the one who brightens eyes

eating on the slanted roof at his house

she has found him, he is the one and the only great thing in her life right now

and the same is true for him

he texts her asking her how are things?

she says “::HARD”?

but when they get up and dance :: the whole world gets up to dance :: they turn the drab into the rainbow

her demon is an eating disorder

she loves that he loves food

she over-exercises

he falls in love with her but can’t deal with her demons, her demons are the crime that gets between them, that he ignores to be with her

and ultimately she leaves him

who loves who the most :: who will leave who first? :: which would you rather be, the one more in love, or the one more loved?

she does cocaine, it dovetails with her eating/exercise disorder

his demon is his friends

she hates his friends

guys who listen to icp-type and shoot bullets through walls

who murder their own children in the country lake

who smoke pot constantly

and he who drinks

and does other drugs

z gets together with a woman, he’s worried that she’ll die from her motorcycle (base her off that girl in LA)

the new one freaking out at me in a parking lot about having done heroin

at first you see her point of view

then it’s indicated that she’s just acting, that mainly she’s trying to get what she wants :: that mainly she’s trying to control something

his father comes to visit

they get along great :: and have nothing in common

the son leaves his father sleeping on the floor to go to warehouse party

she’s a virgin, they change clothes in different rooms, she leaves pretty little notes around, but they get hot and hard

she considers him the divine master :: divine master god

he feels awkward at meditating, she does it for her acting, but somehow, he is the one who’s in tune, he is the one who’s connected

when he comes back, having not slept, the father is masturbating

sleeping with her on the warehouse roof

waking up, seeing her face in the sunlight

she plays her music for him


his old g/f a freak from antioch becomes a square, square job, buys a house, gets remarried to her ex, starts going to church, won’t talk to any of them, and she’s having a baby

and z accidentally kills someone on his girl’s motorcycle, hits a pedestrian, and he goes to jail :: he calls me, I meet him in the cemetery, he’s looking at his g/f’s mother’s grave, or maybe they’re at the funeral of the (better, yes) they’re at the funeral of the boy he killed, and that’s when z tells him what happened, and then he has m [him] drive him [z] to the police station, and he won’t let him come in, he just makes him drop him off and say goodbye, promise not to tell anyone where he is, etc.

[he] is shaken

breaking off the friendship with the old one

she has been eclipsed

he can’t even be the old one’s friend anymore

he stops h because of her

and goes to a new job interview, high, and gets the job

he might be committing to the business world—at least more $$

dressing each other up in masks

seeing each other in various light

being with a stranger, do I even know you?  is this who I found?

they’re planning the ultimate party

which never happens

then she asks him if he wants to do H with her

she wanted to leave

she wanted to leave her body

she imagined that if she thought about it in the right way, she would disappear

go back to the universe, see herself from outside

and as much as he doesn’t want it, he is the one who ushers her out

a most perfect usher, for a most intense passing

and he has gone into the darkness, to find the light

only there were the secrets he wanted, that is why he sent himself to earth

to go into the darkness of humankind

because there and there alone is light, is breath

only there can breath be gotten, found

he went to earth to remind himself, he went to the darkness to remind himself

of love, of what’s been lost, of some truth about who we are

that we had forgotten

him thinking of leaving his whole life, when she dies, of leaving, just like he thought of it earlier with crro/coke, but he doesn’t do it, he stays to face the music


that idiotic conversation with erica about “making it right” in the parking lot


her clothes still being in the dryer

sitting in the parking lot at an atm, listening to her song

empty parking lot, 10am, late for work and had to be

what are you going to do now?

but he has the realization :: of what reality do you want to be creating in this moment, he has the light, so bright it’s vacant and hurts, he has the light found from sending himself into such darkness

and maybe even having found so much light that he doesn’t know what to do with it :: counter-impose, through the story, a coming-to-light in terms of the character’s mentality, with a coming-to-darkness in the character’s outward world

and in the narration in the end, foreshadow that the future gets worse..that [z] gets out early but then hangs himself, that I would get a call at work about this later in the week and find myself sleeping with z’s g/f out of lonliness, etc. etc. etc…

(she has a pure, seeking heart..when she sees someone, he thinks the person is a transvestite..she just noticed that they were dressed nicely)

More junk text I threw away before starting ::HARD

Here’s about 6,000 more words of abortive text that I wrote before starting on the text that became ::HARD.  There’s stuff in here that could be worked into a story, but probably I’ll just leave it here, as what was needed to get me to where I needed to get to, to write ::HARD.  There’s personal notes in here, title ideas, etc.  I’m just leaving them in, I don’t think I care how my raw text is judged anymore.  A great thing about being depressed..I don’t feel scared because the last couple of days I don’t really give a fuck.  -MT



def cfauthor{Matthew Temple}

def cftitle{C i r q u e}

def cfyear {2011}

def cfid {[unpublished]}

def cfcredit {[none]}






{large {bf cirque}} |s…ôrk| emph{noun}

{small (late 17th century, from French, from Latin)}

{bf 1} circus

{bf 2} a ring, circlet, or circle




chapter*{How I Met the Dawn}


textsc{I didn’t go looking for her.  Not specifically.}

She came to my audition, so certainly I was looking for emph{someone}.

I just didn’t know who.


I was making plays.  Big plays.  I wanted the biggest plays possible.

Like, if I had a cast, I wanted the most people in it.  If the script called for “some diners at a restaurant” I figured “some” meant thirty.  They’ve got to stay in business, right?

Or let’s say you were doing The Seagull.  It’s a depressing play—doubt me?  I figure if people are paying $50 a seat to watch some depressing fucking Chekov, they deserve a show.

Most directors will throw Checkov at you in a single-story house.

Which is no good.

People have no emph{imagination} when they read these scripts!

If the script says: she enters the living room, most people’s minds jump straight to: emph{single-story house}.  Why?  What if it’s: she slides down a candy-colored barber pole into the living room.  That’s better.  Or: backwards, with her eyes closed, she mounts the polished cherry banisher of the main stair, spirals down the twisted railing and emph{flips!} into her father’s recliner, landing next to an open book without disturbing its pages.  Or no: maybe she catches the book.  Someone tosses it to her.  emph{Now} we’re talking.


I needed someone who could handle that sort of thing.  She needed to be acrobatic.  It would emph{help} if she spoke French.  French was a nice-to-have.

When I direct, I improvise.  Like I might say: do that scene in French.  From the top.

You need versatility.

The audition is a microcosm of the rehearsal.  Rehearsal is a microcosm of the play.  emph{The play}ldots is a microcosm of life.  But that’s theory.  We don’t have time for theory.

This girl was going to have to beldots wellldots




“Amazingly special.”


“Extraordinarily especially amazing.”

“Nothing less.  I’m serious.”

“I know.”

“I’m serious, Ace.  This girl has got to be—”

“Ridiculous, I know.”

“How’d you know I was going to say ridiculous?”

Ace is my partner.  He can read my mind.

That’s emph{why} Ace is my partner.


“Do you even know what play you’re doing?”

“No.  Don’t bother me with details.”

“Do you want to see the next girl?”

“Yes.  Bring her in.  What number is this?”

“This is number sixty-two.”

“She looks like a Sharon.  No—she looks like aldots Karen?”


“With an E?”

Ace nods.

I peek at the clipboard.  “What are her special skills?“

Ace points to a spot on the paper.  “Welcome, Ms. Haines.  If you’ll stand in the middle of our stage, our director will be with you in emph{just} a second.”

Ms. Haines nods.  Little fingers cover her mouth for a cough.

“Don’t you think it would have been better with an A?”


“Anna Haines.  If it’s emph{Anne} it just runs together.  Anne Haines.  emph{Anna} Haines.  Don’t you think that’s better?”

“You want me ask her to change her name?”

I return the clipboard.  “No, Ace.  It’s too late now.“


“Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you Ms. Rappaport.  Thank you Ms. Haines.  Thank you Ms. Taliaferro.  Thank you.”  Thank you all.  “That will be all.  Thank you for coming.  Do we have this stage tomorrow?“


“Here’s what I want you to do.  Find us a stage first of all.  Put up a casting notice that says: `Here lies Badger Fox.’  That’s in capitals.  Badger Fox.  Prepare a six minute monologue reciting the eulogy of Badger Fox, as the Fox’s sister—no, yeah, sister—funeral attire, makeup, and tell them to wear emph{shoes} that are believable in a funeral setting.  Post it.”

“That’s it?”

“Here lies Badger Fox.”


“Does it ever occur to you that you’re in the wrong business?”  This is Ace, to me, over lunch.

I fold my napkin and put it on the table.  “What business do you think would be the right business?“

“I can’t think of one,” he says.  “For you: no.  I don’t know.“  He shakes his head and goes for another bite of the shrimp.  He’s twirling linguini on his fork.  “I’m pretty sure this is the wrong one for you, though.”


All I want is to make a beautiful play.  I want to make the best play possible.  I want someone to sit in that front row and look up at the stage and I want that person to have an open heart—I want them to be impressionable—and I want that person to watch this play that someone else wrote, with the blood of their years—all the effort they had!—and I want to make that play come off that page and I want it in lights and with movement and singing and the occasional spiral staircase and I want that person sitting in the front row to say “wow.”

That’s all I want, Ace.

This is the best business I know to be in.


“Number eighty-one.”

“Sara.  Sara Feld.  Thank you for coming today.  How are you?  Excellent.  Let’s hear your monologue.  Braere Fox.”

“I prepared forldots”

“What’s that?”

“I prepared for emph{Badger} Fox.”

“What did I say?”


“Thank you Ms. Feld.  She had nice shoes.”

“You wanna do more?”

“Ace, what business are we in?”

“The play-producing business?”

“Yes but I mean emph{today}.  What business are we in emph{today}?”

“The listening-to-monologues business?”

“That’s right.”

“But what’s the point if you never find anyone?”

“The point,” I say, “is that we’re looking.”


“What does this girl have to be again?”


“What else.”


“What else!”  I stand.  “Bring in number eighty—what are we on?“

“This is one-hundred and eight.”

“Bring in number one-hundred and eight!  Show yourself, sweet!  Take the center stage.  We are looking for—you may have heard—my partner and I are looking for someone who is—”




“Ace, please.  Forgive my partner.  We’ve been here a long time.  What we need is someone who can work with us on this play and many others.  We need someone we can work with throughout theory, throughout practice; we need someone we can work with throughout production, throughout breakldots”

“What play are you doing right now?”


“What current play am I actually auditioning for?”

I look at Ace.

Ace looks at me.

“Thank you, Msldots”

“It’s Harris.”

“Thank you, Ms. Harris.”


“Are we too young to retire?”


“Are we rich enough to retire?  Could we make it?”

Ace says: “I could.”

I laugh.  “I guess you’re stuck with me a while longer.“


“Maybe you could have them just do emph{half} the monologue.”

“Ace.  If someone prepares a six minute monologue I’m at least giving them a chance to do the whole thing.”

Ace whispers: “This one sucks.”

“Shhh!”  I say.  I’m peering over the seat.  “She might get better.“


It took us six weeks.

We never found our girl—it took us six weeks to decide we were crazy.

I decided for both of us.

The closest we came was a young woman named Kelsey Dawn.

Kelsey was number five-hundred ninety-eight.

We weren’t doing Badger Fox monologues anymore.  By week six we had moved on to round-robin improvisation based on Deepak Chopra meditations.  It was very complicated.  Honestly I just want to see if people will take direction.

Kelsey could sing.  She had a nice voice.  She was trained.  Kelsey took direction.  It was maddening to pull the plug, because Kelsey Dawn was close.  But she didn’t have that spark.

“I’m calling it, Ace.”

“Heads or tails?”


“What!?”  He stamped around the back row of the auditorium—like an angry kid that had to pee.  Then he put his hands on the back of a chair.  “Tails.“

“You gonna be ok?”

“You’re the director.”  That’s all he said.


Kelsey Dawn was amazing, by normal standards.  She has popstar-level skills.  Even Broadway-level skills.  She was a little too old, maybe.  We wanted someone we could work with for a career, ten years or so.  Kelsey’s age wasn’t the show-stopper, though.  There wasn’t really a show stopper.  Not that I could put my finger on.

Ace disagreed.  He thought Kelsey Dawn was perfect.

“You won’t emph{find} another girl like this.”

“You’re right.”

“I mean in emph{years}.”

“You’re right.”

“What is the emph{problem}, then?”

“It’s justldots”

“Don’t say it.”

I didn’t say it.  Ace can read my mind, remember?  She lackedldots Ace hated when I said thisldots but she lackedldots that certain emph{je ne sais quoi}.

“You’re killing me.”

“Sorry, Ace.”

“You know, I think I could direct.”

“You should.  You have my every encouragement.”

“Do you really think she lacks it?”

“She does.”

emph{Exactly how much emph{je ne sais quoi} does a person need to have?}  That’s what Ace was thinking (our link goes both ways).  emph{To be right for this partldots there isn’t even a emph{part}!  What am I doing with this bozoldots this maniac!  emph{I} could direct.}

“emph{You} could direct,” I say.

Ace shakes his head.

“I’ll switch you hats.”

His head is still shaking.

“You take the whip.  I’ll take the reigns.  I could do financialldots”

Ace is emph{really} shaking his head.  “No, no, no,“ he says.

“You do art,” I suggest, “I can handle the numbers.  You want this one?  What’s her name?  Chelsea—”

“Dawn.  And it’s fucking Kelsey.  And if you handled the numbers we’d be broke within a week.”

“You want Kelsey, I’ll call her back.  She’s probably still outside.  You want her?”

“No!” Ace says.

No.  Because if Ace directed—if Ace took the whip—we’d be sunk just as deep as if I took the reigns.


Ace and I weren’t speaking.  We take these little half-an-hour breaks from each other sometimes.  Usually about once every three or four days.  It saves the friendship.

We were in the elevator.

I was thinking about when Ace and I met.  It was in this burger place, about a block from here, called Diablo.  They have a Kobe burger with this spicy orange sauce—it’s ridiculous.  And I always liked to go there and have that burger, and I always used to eat alone.  They have those no-stem wine glasses I like and this wine that’s called Consilienceldots or Crescendoldots or something.  I can never remember, but it’s this epic name.

The place isn’t classy.  You stand in line like a cafeteria to get your food.  Lunch is like 20 to 40 dollars.  They’ve got big windows.  I always sit by the window.  You can look out and see Hollywood.

So I’m in line and there’s this fat fucking guy with a yamaka next to me, and he’s dropping his napkin and dropping his emph{fork} and leaning down to get it and this guy’s shirt is untucked from around his fat belly and when I say fat I’m talking I couldn’t put my emph{arms} around him, even if I had three arms.

I was wearing my Mets cap and I used to really hate when Jewish people wore yamakas in public—I mean really hate it.  You’re standing in line next to some Hasid in Costco and he’s in full garb—full beard, robe to his ankles, emph{sandals}—and yet this guy is talking on his emph{cell phone}.  Latest model.  High-tech everything.  And yet somehow he’s so emph{disconnected} from society that he’s not allowed to cut his hair.

So I’m at Diablo and this fat fucking guy is bending down to get his fork and, you know, I can see his emph{underwear} when he bends, so I’m just like “Nice hat” and Ace, quick as a whip, says, “Wanna trade?”

I stopped making fun of Jewish people after that.

Because Ace takes his yamaka off his head and he holds it out to me in the Diablo food line.

I took off my Mets cap.

We traded hats.  And that’s the last time we’ve ever traded hats, and the last time we’re ever going to.

This is what I’m thinking about in the elevator on the way down to the street after our audition with Kelsey Dawn, my partner standing next to me, both of us silent.

I don’t know what Ace was thinking about.  I can’t read his mind emph{that} well.


Sure enough Kelsey Dawn was still outside.

She was waiting for her sister.

Kelsey had parked her car in a delivery zone across the street, on Sunset.  Kelsey’s little sister, Rachel, was waiting for her, with the car.

This is Sunset Boulevard.  Mid-day, maybe three o’clock.  Not the best time to park your car in a tow-away zone.



[and when she does it, it has to be amazing, just past realism..the details about how she weaves the car, how she listens, and etc, however she does it, however she pulls it off]

[and the point is that somewhere in here, this guy falls in love with this girl just like I fell in love once, at just such an audition, in every way, needing to get to know someone better, to connect with them, over every boundary and in spite of every negative]

[Rachel takes off her sunglasses and I see that characteristic gone-ness of the eyes]

[she has two different colored eyes..*and* she’s blind..it must be an omen]

[Ace isn’t paying attention]

“Well, this has been a momentus day.”

“Oh yeah, real momentus.”


[because, we just saw a blind girl make a u-turn across Hollywood Boulevard]

That is how I met Rachel Dawn—and without Rachel Dawn, I wouldn’t be telling you this story, because without her there would be no story to tell.


See that was all bullshit.  I just fancied myself a director.

I had never directed plays.  I had written them.  Never had any produced.  Maybe that was what I wanted to happen.

Maybe it was what was emph{going} to happen.



[idea of a director being the ultimate audience member..lay out the theme/idea that this is what directors do..find something to love, and love it right out of its ordinaryness, into stardom]


I didn’t see her for a long time after.



[a section, much later, where we show, comically, that I am still wearing the yamaka and Ace is still wearing the Mets cap—a description of the two of us as misfits, with this as a key supporting factor]

[we can continue to use this..I can examine my new hat, the yamaka, as a symbol of my partner, of the other side of the economic/artistic coin, as a reminder of how long they’ve been together and how entwined they are]

[ultimately, perhaps, it’s even more a story about their friendship, than it is about a specific love]


[when he does meet her, to talk about the circus, he asks her what she can do.  do you know French?  can you sing?  she can’t do anything]


[[build each section until it’s a unit, a story, whether 3 pages or 30, 30 pages or 300, cycle around a section until that section is a tent, an act, a story, a unit, a whole..then move on]]

[Outside, I was chatting with Kelsey Dawn .. and he sees her sister for the first time]

[and what he sees is a blind girl juggling..or a girl juggling..then he realizes that she’s blind..and that was the day that changed his life]

[or he sees her do some acrobatics in the street..she avoids danger, saves her sister, or saves her little brother who went into the street..then he sees that the one who did this fantastic feat..is blind..then later he trains her to juggle, etc..?]

[maybe he just sees her catch the car keys that Kelsey throws her way..so that the little sister can get something from the car..maybe something simple like that]

[maybe she crosses the street and moves the car out of a tow-away zone..then he sees that she’s blind]

[pace it right, by writing it in order and taking the right amount of time to get there, with each move, with each story, with each section, with each interchange, with each line, with each word; then edit later, remove stories, do smoothing of an already-smoothed, already mostly ordered, already paced thing]

[xx >> maybe not this..he’s not a subservient partner, he’s a business guy with equal standing, but one handles the artistic side and one handles the .. logistical side << maybe look @ the section where he tells him to post the audition]

We’ll do another play next year.  We don’t have to do one every year.  We want to make emph{good} plays, not emph{lots of plays}.  Ace makes the same amount of money either way.  I need help all year round.  But it’s more exciting for him when we’re emph{doing stuff}.  Like, emph{real stuff}, not just house maintenance and research.  I guess it is for me, too.


[and make Rachel and I care about the circus in entirely different ways..have us be at odds there, in terms of objective]


[show what the Dawn family is like..how someones like Kelsey and Rachel could have come to exist..recollection of having met the family]


[someday, there’s a non tongue-in-cheek mindreading that Ace does, that plays centrally to the story]


[Ace wants to be made full partner, above the line.  They do it.]

[or: at some point Ace, who normally takes a back seat on artistic issues, makes an artistic decision he feels strongly about, and the director goes along with it, backs Ace up on Ace’s artistic path]


textsc{Silence silenced silence.}

Noise drowned out noise.  What was quiet, once, was made to sing.  What, before, deafened me, was put to rest.

I found my tears as notes.  Nothing of a chord.  Each one played enemy to the next, grating.

I tried to make them play together, figuring that, if I had to cry, it was best that each of my sad songs worked together—at least, in sadness, I’d have harmony.

That’s not what happened.

They wouldn’t be conducted.

They wouldn’t lie down.

They tangled, and they rose, and they bit me in my sleep.

Do you ever have one of those tricky dreams where the dream is so real that there’s no way there could really be a dream like that?  A dream that’s so unemph{dream}like—like a dream that you’re putting gas in your car, or a dream that your next door neighbor comes over to borrow an egg.  How do you know it’s a dream when there isn’t enough fantastical about it to let you know it’s a dream?

You might dream of a giant snake in the forest.  You were hunting it, you and three friends.  When you found her she was sleeping, as tall as a house.  When you wake from that dream you say to yourself: what a dream!  What a pretty snake!  I don’t hunt snakes.  And a snake could never be as tall as a house.

But what if you dream that your sister died?  You get a call from Mom.  Your sister was in a car accident.  Her husband is fine.  The baby wasn’t with them.  Your sister didn’t make it.  You hang up the phone.  When you wake up from that dream, what do you tell yourself?  What kind of conversation do you have with yourself?  You of course call your sister, when you wake.  You say you’re calling just to say `hi’.  You don’t tell her about the dream.  You check to make sure she’s still alive.  You know when you wake, it’s just a dream.  But you can’t tell yourself that that emph{couldn’t} have happened.  You can only tell yourself that it didn’t.

And sometimes it does happen.

Sometimes you do get that call.  Your sister died.

Usually when you slip you catch yourself.  Sometimes you slip and break your neck.  And that’s it.  You’re dead.

Real life has no foreshadowing.


My sad songs came in threes, in perfect fairytale form.  At least if you waited long enough, they did.  Eventually something new happens to round it out.  I could tell you about the time our little brother died when he went away to college—because that really did happen.  I could tell you about riding the Greyhound from Erie, Pennsylvania to Mesa, Arizona, and running out of money, and sleeping in all my clothes under the canopy of the Exxon station.  Because that really happened too.

But we don’t have time for that.

There are only 12 hours in the day, and 12 hours in the night, and I don’t know how many days I can take of yours, telling you sad songs, before you go to dream.

My daughter used to do this thing when she played with her dolls.  She’d set them in her lap and she’d smooth their hair.  She’d get them all arranged.  And she’d look down at them and she’d say—it was storytime—she’d say: “Now I’m going to tell you a happy story and a sad story.  This is the sad story.”


And if I set you up as dolls.  If I arranged you.  If I took you in my lap.

You might look at each other.

I would smooth your hair.

We might hold hands.

We might sing ourselves a song.  You might start.  I’d join in.

You’d sing a verse.  It would ring my ears.  Something of your story would find me, would pierce me.  Your green eye.  Your grey one.  I think they see me differently.  Because they’re different colors.  Each a new lense into a different part of me.


Or maybe they turned colors because of different parts of me.  One gray.  One green.  Maybe what you’re looking at—perhaps the world you see—it can’t be seen with a single eye, with a single color.

Your green eye eats spinach.  Your grey one eats coals.

Your green eye is a vegetarian.  Your gray eye doesn’t eat at all.  Your green eye sits on a park bench listening to a stranger’s stories.  The grey one doesn’t say a thing.  The grey one locks herself in closets for hours, without her phone.  Doesn’t check messages.  When she comes back, doesn’t listen to what was said.  Deletes every one, doesn’t miss a word, doesn’t care.  The grey one stops me in parking lots for hours to argue, about nothing.

The grey one blames me.

The green one apologizes later.

The green one sings me to sleep.

She is gently filling holes.

She is the one who comes like christmas, who never looks away.  She’s the one who left a note on my pillow, who children in parks mistake for angels.  Who adults hate.  Adults hate the green one.  They love the grey one.  The grey one is more like them.  Adults can discount the grey you; they can relate.  The green one stumps them.  The green one is a mystery, because the green one never stoops to that level.  It can’t.  Not even if she wanted to, because she has not legs or knees or feet—only wings.  And I know that those children in the park were not mistaken.  They knew what they saw.


The grey one spurned me for a week.


The green one came like christmas.  Slowly, over a month, and then all lit up, opened with mad hands and paper torn, out of the box, breathing free.


The green one opened her presents alone that night, under the covers, without me.


The grey one said nothing.  She shot me that cultivated look.  You burn like ice.


[might cut this up even more, pepper a Vesuvius sentence after an interchange..]

The grey one was coy; the green one, never.  The grey one might hide; green had nothing to fear.  Green would shock you naked, touch you with frankness, wide-eyed.  With green you had nothing to say; she would lay you bare.  With grey you could never win an argument; with green you could never start one.  Green was molten glass.  Grey was cinder.  Green, a forest; gray, a volcano.  Green may have been Mt. St. Helen but grey was straight Vesivius.  .  I think the grey one had a crush on the green one.


“You can’t write a poem to save your life.  And you are speaking to a poem.”

“You don’t even write.”

“I didn’t say I emph{write} poetry.  I said I emph{am a} poem.”

And that girl might be.  She might be.

“I don’t like this grey you.  I miss the green you.”

“What are you talking about?”


“Oh no I get it.  I get it.  But see the thing is, you don’t know the grey me from the green me on a cloudy day.  Not a pinch.  Not a slice.  Not a single pepperoni.  You had the green me, once.  Before you got to know me.  I was more green then.”

“I liked it.”

“You liking me emph{makes} me grey.  You can’t ever really emph{be} with the green me.  Should I go on?  The—whatever color you are—that color—mixed with green—emph{makes me} grey.  So that’s all you—” she turns “—get.”  She grabs her hat.  The monkey.  She let’s me close the door.


Canopy hat.  Gypsy shoes.  Our circus was complete!  The cost—who cares the cost!  When I see that dancing elf—the highwire pea!—taking impossible and turning her on her head!  When I see danger tossed in the air—a coin!  I know that every penny spent to make this was worth the letting go.

I might have known!  But how can you.  A bear who can juggle scarves—who knew!  That anyone could juggle scarves—what a thought!  I’d go to chainsaws, first.  A bear who juggles emph{chainsaws}, now that’s the attraction.  Now I see the silk descending—thread floating on air!—chainsaws are passe.


Have you ever seen a thread—a single silver, waxy thread—fall from the height of five stories—in spotlight—born on atoms!  On atoms of air!  Falling five stories with such grace (you or I could never manage it).

We’d go too fast.  That would be our problem.  If we tried it.  If we tried falling five stories, we’d mess it up.  Break things.  Too clumsy.  Not a friend of air.


There was breath without air, there was the motion of eating—but never nourishment.  I could sit in a room for hours, drink sixteen cups of coffee—never feel a thing.  We might have had a conversation.  I wouldn’t remember it.  I could be speaking.  You would see my face move.  I’d even smile, but I’d never look you in the eye.  Those eyes were tracked away forever, checked out; those eyes are only for me now.  No one else gets to see them, because no one else would understand.  I could look at you, but what would be the point.  You don’t know me.  You never did.  Everything we said?  Everything we did?  Nothing.  It was.  It was nothing.  It may have emph{seemed} like something—and to you I’m sure it did.  But it was nothing, there was no emph{deepness} to it, there was no emph{substance} to it, no molecules, nothing to emph{satisfy} you.  Or.  Well.  Maybe it did satisfy you.  But it didn’t satisfy me.

I didn’t find enough to eat, so somewhere in there my eyes became my own.  They were never shared anyway.  We were just pretending.

Pretending is fun for the young.  It’s enough.  There’s enough meat in your made-up realities that you can light your eyes on it.  You’re either playing the game (believing in it) or you’re just past that (in the place where you know it’s silly but you do it anyway).  Or you just stop playing.

When you see my eyes someplace else, but my mouth is still moving, that’s where I’ve gone.  I’m done.  I’m done.  These eyes don’t play anymore.

Sometimes play isn’t play anymore—it isn’t fun.  There’s no more gravity to build houses upon, to rest our buildings.  You can either keep building things that fall down, or you can stop building altogether.

I think when I was done with you, I had nothing left.


[letting ecstasy come over you, learning to do that when sober, learning to let ecstasy come upon you, to release the chemicals from your brain that give you chills, just from your thoughts, and just from letting them]


[the irony of foreshadowing..it is a story about someone’s sister, someone’s brother, who went off to college and died..we said earlier that real life doesn’t have foreshadowing..=)..this isn’t real life]


[a chapter, a unit, which is the entire performance of the circus, front stage, backstage, audience, an entire performance..that’s a hard piece of writing, and it will be a beautiful one if I can pull it off]














[Ace and I go separate ways, even though we know we’ll sink, we decide to]



City, fugue, and steam.

There might have been a crumble.  There might have been sand.

There might have been a voice.

One set of notes, hung together on a shard.  Having something in common with each other, together yesterdays, afternoons in the sun, two or three points along a line.  There might have been mystery in shadow, there may have been a patch of light.  Your fingers might have graced it, dripped in loudness, splashing touch in a puddle of concrete, craters dug below the tracks.

Before there was voice there was silence.  Silence was voiced.  That was the loudest note yet played, and its playing needed silence.


Work on this for as long as I like, until I’m done and done.  Take years.  There’s no hurry.  Take my time.  It’s not about getting it out there.  It’s about me doing what I do.

Make it a slam-dunk.  Make it complete.

resembling an organ

showboats and traveling fairs

the Muse of epic poetry

having a beautiful voice

about one who has a beautiful voice

but is hoarse at first

one who has to find the notes

a story of going from the darkness to the light

don’t forget the epic poetry part of Calliope..make this epic poetry

like Morte Darthur, Once and Future King, the other epics..heroes..tragedy..triumph..is it possible to do such a story with a contemporary landscape? I think it probably is..but the landscape is definitely a part that needs to be looked at, that needs to be arranged, such that heroes can exist..and epics

(do fewer things, better)

two part story: a guy (me in Dayton) living that partyish life

and: his dream, which is the bulk of the story, it’s how he sees himself, his world, and that is the circus, calliope

in real life, RML dies

in the dream, one of the circus performers dies on opening night of the most fantastic circus ever created

we know the circus dream part of the story (the major portion of it) is an analogue for the real-life stuff, and it’s clear how..so the reader gets to experience reality, a dark, bleak, gritty reality through the wonderful, delusional, heightened fantasies / dreams of the dreamer .. of the main character and narrator

in real life, it’s an ambulance at the house, standard tragedy

in the dream, it’s a spindle of silver thread, the center of the story, falling, the performer jumping off her trapeze, swimming down through gravity, to touch it

about someone who wants to create a circus

to find his voice

and he does, and its beauty is terrible


it is the most beautiful thing in the world

and it contains the most terrible

and in real life, there is some redemption, or at least recovery, healing, of the ringmaster, as he moves on, as he pays for his crimes with guilt and time

and in the circus world, there is the ringmaster sweeping up the stage after his performer, after her death on that stage, and he picks up the piece of hair, her hair, the thread that held it all together..the end

(once the tragedy happens, perhaps, the balance of fantasy to reality, in the story, switches, so that we’re mostly, or all, in reality, the dark reality of showing up at emergency rooms, drinking, looking for people who are not there)..then at the very end, we get a breath of the color, of the circus life, again

what if the good became legendary, and the legend became the good

what if everything I asked for I got 1000x, and 1000x was too much?

that, when you write, when you work, should be what you are working for

the conversations about publication are nothing, meaningless ..

work for singular greatness, work for nothing short of full genius

work for something beyond human understanding, nothing less than that

be driven by something that is too much to even comprehend

not normal goals, not even human goals; work for something truly breathed

work for gods, for devils, not for men, not for women, not for childs

work for towering flames, volcano-fires, work for divinities, and their court

nothing less, not for those who even breathe this air..but for they who breathe fire

..right. make your audience the gods and the devils themselves

if your show is not right for an audience of two: the highest god and the lowest devil

then it is not suitable for anyone.

that is who to aim your show to..to the most diabolical, to the most divine

make them happy in their seats, and you will be doing your job

maybe the character meets the embodiment of his ideal audience members..there are two of them..the god and the devil..the god is a woman, she’s the angel..the devil is a man..he is the devil..and those are his two, competing, most prime customers..they compete with each other in the society for clout, and their types just compete with each other by their dispositions

there’s this musician I like, Ken Medema, he’s blind, he’s in the darkness in a literal way, and he sings this powerful music, I mean when he sings, when he plays the piano, he brings down the bricks in the house; I’ve been seeing him since I was a kid, because he played at conferences our family went to, and I saw him as an adult, this last year, and it stuck me, how much more deeply this guy most be in worlds of his own, than I am, given that he cannot see. when he travels, he has a disconnection from the world that is right around him, that is profound. and it hit me, and I went up to him after the concert and whispered in his ear my impression of watching him sing, in these church cathedrals of arched ceilings and hundreds of people, with stained glass windows and rays of sun streaming in..that, even though this guy is blind..*the light is coming through him* .. it’s coming through him, he is the one inspiring all of us who can see, showing us the light, and I am coming to think that it is *only* people from the darkness who can show the light to those who see..that that is not a job that can be done by those who are solely from the light

A blind tightrope walker?

that’s who he falls in love with?

Cirque..and the circle is that, through this tragedy, through his loss, he becomes the person who *someone else* can fall in love with, can become inspired by

describe smoke, the act of lighting a flame

write for the highest god and the lowest devil

make them happy, both

two parts..the darkness..and the light..the first part has to be about coming from lightness to darkness, and the second about coming from darkness to light

the charlie rose dreamer theory?

wearing ducky gear and umbrellas in the production office

how I became weird

the baffled king: who spends a lifetime instituting controls and fear..only to be shown, unprecedentedly, that people don’t bow to control, even in the face of death, en masse, they disobey, they are unbreakable

truly an epiphany story..I want to shame Christians, and make them sing, by telling a darkness-to-light story that the deepest theologians swear by, and that goes beyond anything that’s happened in a church in the last 50 years, in inspiration

not someone who’s seen the light

apertif..based on this way of eating you’d wake up at 3 in the morning and eat a peanut, then an hour later you’d move on to a walnut

I had a late breakfast..like noon..but I wouldn’t mind going back to the ole trough